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Mental Health NHS News Northamptonshire

St Andrew’s Healthcare co-hosts county’s first mental health festival

An event which organisers say could become the “Glastonbury of mental health” is set to get underway in a few weeks with the support of some key organisations from the across the county.

St Andrew’s Healthcare is co-hosting the county’s first mental health festival in partnership with BBC Northampton, the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT), the University of Northampton and the Royal & Derngate.

#Headfest will run during Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, from Monday 9 to Saturday 14 May from 10am each weekday. The event will see mental health organisations from across the county take their expertise out of the clinic and into the community. Members of the public are invited to come along for mental health-related talks, free self-care beauty treatments, workshops, and other activities all under the same roof at the Royal & Derngate.

The event was thought up by BBC Northampton radio presenter Helen Blaby (pictured above), who still cannot believe her idea is about to take place. The radio host said: “Who would have thought that eight months ago, a small idea I had while in the bath has now become a reality. I am absolutely amazed and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from the other festival partners who have been on board from the very beginning and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their involvement.

“This may be the first year, but I have big ideas and I’m already looking ahead at next year to see how we can make the event bigger and better. I want to make Headfest, the Glastonbury of mental health, making sure we have something for everyone, because after all, there’s not many people who don’t experience some sort of mental health issue over the course of their lives, so we want to reach out and touch as many people as possible.

“Headfest is free, it’s local and everyone is welcome, so please do pop along during the week, we would love to see you there.”

St Andrew’s staff, former service users and current patients have come together to host an array of talks and presentations throughout the week. Lady Northampton, who is a St Andrew’s Governor and also runs the Falcon Hotel at the Castle Ashby estate, will also be in attendance as she has agreed to talk about the benefits of cold water swimming and wellbeing.

I’m Not Mad, I’m Me, the St Andrew’s documentary launched last year which followed the recovery of three patients, will be screened several times during the event, and Assistant Self-Care Beauty Therapist Victoria Kelly will be on site the entire week to provide free self-care beauty treatments such as Indian head massages. People can book online and book an appointment between 10am and 4pm over the course of the five days. St Andrew’s CEO Jess Lievesley said: “I am thrilled that St Andrew’s was asked to be part of this exciting and very worthwhile event and we are honoured to have worked so closely with some of the county’s key stakeholders in co-hosting Headfest.

“I’m also very proud of the staff who have signed up to take part as clearly they can see just how important putting mental health at the forefront of all our minds really is.

“As a mental health charity we are always trying to find ways to break the stigma of mental health, and I cannot think of a better way to do this than by co-hosting a mental health festival; it is a great starting point for having the sorts of conversations that we should all be having.”

There will be sessions that cover body image and eating disorders, guided walks, men’s mental health, self-care, suicide prevention and yoga, which will be delivered by teams from organisations such as NHFT and the University of Northampton.

A series of carefully selected, mental health-related movies will also be screened throughout the week at the adjoining Northampton Filmhouse, with expert-led Q&As.

For more information about Headfest, click here and to book tickets, click here.

Email [email protected] for more information.

*The full list of #Headfest partners and workshop providers during the week are:

The Lowdown

Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust

Northamptonshire Mind

Northamptonshire Police

Sol Haven (Drumming therapy)

Space 2 Talk

St. Andrew’s Healthcare

University of Northampton

West Northamptonshire Council

**Please note, film tickets will go on sale later this week.